[Landline] Wouldn't you like to live there?
Getting through The Greyness with Fernanda Melchor, James Flournoy Holmes, Kyle Field, Mayo Blusher Squash and more
Landline No. 0037
June 20, 2022
Good day friends,
Sorry for the tardiness on this one, didn’t mean to leave you hanging for so long.
Here’s a quickie.
1. THE PROBLEM WITH WRITING
Mexican author Fernanda Melchor: “In Veracruz, there’s a certain social prestige attached to people who are good storytellers, but not to writers. Writing stories down makes you seem like a boring person, like someone who spends too much time alone, when everyone knows that the most important thing is partying, not writing."
2. SIDESTEPPING THE DARKNESS
Ok, the last Landline was pretty dark. Good to keep this perspective too…
“The world can go to wherever but if I can plant a seed I don't care.” — Mojave desert vegetable gardener Roger Smith
3. GUARDED/GARDEN OPTIMISM IN THE DEEP SOUTHWEST
I’m taking part in a project being run by local non-profit Native Seeds/Search (NS/S) to grow, harvest and save Mayo Blusher Squash seeds in our backyard garden this summer.
[The variety is] Cucurbita maxima. Collected from the low desert Village of Sinahuisa located in Sonora Mexico in 1982. It's a crop of the Mayo people, "People of the River Bank” (in Yoreme: "People who respect tradition"). The Mayo are indigenous people from Southern Sonora and Northern Sinaloa, who reside mostly near the Mayo River Valley and Fuerte River Valley.
The Mayo Blusher is adapted to the Sonoran Desert and for preservation of this desert-adapted variety we would like to continue growing it in similar climates.
The idea is that volunteer gardeners like myself will grow the squash under specified conditions and then return half of the harvest to NS/S in January. The squash will then be opened and the seeds preserved for future distribution by NS/S across their different initiatives, with the basic goal of strengthening food and seed security in the Deep Southwest.
I’m psyched for this everybody-wins project. And I’m curious if there are initiatives of similar scale and depth going on in other parts of this planet. If you have any useful information on this score, privately reply to this email or leave a comment using this convenient button…
4. A NEW LIFE
Trying to keep some part of my mind somehow positive lately I’ve been turning to some old standbys: visionary landscapes.
There once was a fantastic used-record store near Vermont and Hollywood where you could go in midday and get schooled in music by the owner and employees in the friendliest of ways. My favorite lesson ever there was when I inquired about how to get into the Allman Brothers Band, and within minutes Mike the Second-in-Command was playing “Midnight Rider” on the PA and retrieving the Allmans’ 1972 Eat a Peach from the bins. Opening the album’s gatefold jacket to reveal James Flournoy Holmes’ magnificent Magic Markered magic-mushroom idyllscape, Mike smiled and asked, “Now, wouldn’t you like to live there?”
Here’s another Flournoy Holmes album cover, from 1974, on a similar “why yes I would like to live there” theme:
And here’s another inspirational landscape, based upon real characters in a real space in a recent time, which I’ve had on my wall for years now: The Garden of Big Surly Delights, by Kyle Field (Little Wings)…
Psychedelic landscape visions like these — at full-strength of course, meaning on paper and at proper size — help me endure The Greyness at large, when I’m not reaching for my passport. Please pass along your favorites by (again) replying to this email or leaving a comment…
Why yes I would,
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